What to do if your roof is leaking?

cleaning up after a roof leak

Maintaining Your Roof

Florida is The Sunshine State!  People come here from all over to enjoy the beaches, the ocean, and all that encompasses. There are many beautiful and wonderful things about this state, but the weather isn’t always sunshine. There are hurricanes and rains, just like anywhere else, and when those happen, homeowners have the same concerns and fears of a leaking roof

Who fixes leaking roofs?

When a homeowner in Florida has a leaking roof, companies come out of nowhere, offering their services of roofing repair for leaks, just like any other state. There may be more here than other states!  Does that mean you take the first person who leaves a business card or flyer on your door? Absolutely not!

If you have a leaking roof, you need to call an experienced, legitimate roofing company. A handyman or a general contractor may know roofing and leak repair options, but they most likely do not the nitty-gritty details about a leaking roof. They probably don’t know the details to roofing structure and the many components that go into making a roof safe, stable, and leakproof. 

First, you’ll want to file a leak roofing insurance claim with your homeowner’s insurance. They will send an adjuster to inspect the damage and determine what caused the leak. They’ll decide your leaking roof is from old damage or recent damage, and if old damage, chances are they will deny your claim.

So, the first thing you’ll want to find out is “Why is my roof leaking?”, because if the insurance company denied your claim, it still needs to be fixed.  Knowing the where and why is important in getting if fixed, and for that, you need the services of a professional roofing contractor.

Your home in an important investment, probably the biggest one you have, and you want to take care of it so it can take care of you and your family. So, how did that leaking roof happen? Well, first, a leaking roof doesn’t just happen.  It is either from age, damage, or poor maintenance.  Here we have listed 10 probable causes of a leaking roof: 

1. Cracking or Missing Flashing

Flashing are those thin metal strips that are found under the shingles and at anywhere you roof joins other roof angles or protrusions. The purpose of flashing it to create a water-resistant barrier, and if exposed, it could result in a leaking roof. 

2. Broken Shingles

You don’t have to get on top of the roof to see these, step out on the curb or sidewalk and look at your roof. If you see any shingles missing or laying in a different direction. You may even find some in your yard after a heavy rain and windstorm. Where shingles are broken or missing, leaking roofs happen. 

3. Unsealed Valleys

Earlier we mentioned where your roof joins other roof angles or protrusions, where the flashing is often installed under the shingles. Sometime this is referred to as a valley and these areas are not correctly sealed, rainwater will get under the shingles and a leaking roof is the result. 

4. Cracked or Missing Booting

There are protrusions in your roofing, typically plumbing pipes and exhaust vents. When metal flashing strips are not a good fit, a rubber boot is used by the roofing contractor. With weather exposure and aging, they become cracked and may even fall off. This exposes your roof and a leaking roof is possible. 

5. Ice Dam Buildup

You won’t experience this leaking roof issue until there has been an ice or snowstorm. When the ice and snow melt, they run down the roof to the eaves. Because it exposes the eaves to the wind, that melted ice and snow freezes there.   

6. Skylights Old or Improperly Installed

You shouldn’t have any problem locating a leaking roof at the skylight. If they skylights are 10 years or older, they’re due to be replaced. They can be damaged by the constant sun UV rays and weather, drying out the sealant, and creating a leaking roof. 

7. Clogged Gutters

If you’re noticing leaves, limbs or other debris hanging out of your gutters and you have a leaking roof, look no further!  When gutters and downspouts are clogged, the water has nowhere to go except over the gutters or back up under the shingles. 

8. Chimney Cracked

Examine your chimney and if the mortar or mud cap is looking worn, there may be places that is causing your leaking roof. 

9. Condensation In The Attic

If you notice condensation in the attic, dampness on the insulation, mildew, or mold, you have a leaking roof into the attic. This could be harder to locate and require the services of a professional roofing contractor. 

10. Neglect

Yes, homeowner neglect. As a homeowner, you should take a visual check around your home to see if there are any issues that need to be addressed. Like shingles laying in the yard, or tree limbs on the roof that can cause a leaking roof. Your roof needs to be professionally washed at least once a year to keep the algae and other substances that eat the shingles. 

result of a roofing leak

Is a leaky roof dangerous?

It can be! A leaking roof is more than a structural problem. There are several health and safety issues to be concerned about when you discover a leaking roof.

  • Damage attic and ceiling: The initial dangers of a leaking roof are the attic being damaged and anything you have stored in the attic. If you don’t have an attic, then that damage will be directly to the ceiling.  
  • Interior mildew and mold: A leaking roof has long-term consequences that can get serious fast with mildew and mold growth. Mold gets into the structure, the HVAC system, and then is spread throughout the entire house through the vents. The health issues for your family can range from asthma, congestion, inflammation, and more.
  • Fire hazard: We all know that fire and water don’t mix, and when you have a leaking roof, you have danger of water reaching any electrical wiring that could have exposed wires or a short.

Other dangers you could experience from a leaking roof would be puddled water on the floors, right for somebody to slip and fall. Higher utility bills with energy wasted cooling and heating the attic instead of the house.  Don’t forget the structure is compromised too! 

Can a leaking roof collapse?

Yes, if left unaddressed and unrepaired, it can weaken the supporting rafters and decking, collapse right in the middle of your bedroom, kitchen, living room, etc. Small leaks turn into bigger ones.  

Can you repair a leaking roof from the inside?

Temporarily, yes. You’ll first need to find where the leaking roof is coming from and that will be your biggest challenge. If you notice the ceiling bulging, place towels and a bucket under then punch a hole in it so the water can drain out. 

Next, go in the attic and find the leaking roof, being careful not to walk where the attic flooring isn’t supported. Use a flashlight to find the areas and follow the water trail. There is the leaking roof! Make a temporary patch a durable material, sheet of plywood, anything, even spare shingles and attach with roofing tar and nails. 

Now call a roofing contractor if you haven’t already! 

Final Thoughts 

Your home is your place of refuge and safety.  Taking care of the roof is part of homeownership that hopefully will keep you from having to call a professional roofing contractor.  Never let a small leak go without paying attention and addressing the matter.